Nine people were arrested this morning in connection with a suspected £40m mortgage fraud.

The arrests are a part of an investigation into mortgages taken out on more than 500 properties in the south of England between 2005 and 2007.

More than fifty officers from the City of London’s economic crime department, assisted by Sussex police, made the arrests at six homes in Sussex and north London this morning.

Police also searched three business premises. The inquiry is centred on Eastbourne Financial Services, a mortgage brokers based in East Sussex which is now in liquidation.

Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart from City of London Police said:

‘The scale of today’s operation shows City of London police’s commitment to investigate frauds and bring those behind them to justice.

‘We know that fraud has the potential to impact on local communities and we are determined not only to work with colleagues across the UK to investigate such frauds but to liaise with other agencies to mitigate that impact on innocent people affected by the criminal greed of others.’

Eight men and one woman were arrested in the operation. They are aged between 29 and 73 years old and were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

The arrests followed a referral from the Financial Services Authority which has been closely involved in the investigation.